Monday, September 5, 2011

By the sea...

One thing I miss so much about living in a bigger country, a country which is not an island, is the sea.
j
It has genuinely been over a year since we last saw the sea, and that has taken its toll in an odd, un-definable sort of way. So when Son 2 announced: 'I want to swim in the sea every day of this holiday!', I decided to support him in this challenge. We were staying with Ben's parents last week, in a gîte only a few kilometers away from the Atlantic coast, in the Pays Basque.

The people of the Pays Basque of France are linked by language, culture and blood to the Spanish Basques known for their terrorist connections (actually - they have declared a permanent ceasefire, did you know?), but although the French Basques are strongly independent they welcome tourists so that people can learn about their unique heritage. They speak a languge that pre-dates any other European one, which mainly seems to consist of the letters X and Z, if road signs are anything to go by. They build (yes, they still build them) big white houses with red paintwork - originally the wood was coloured with oxblood.They make cider, catch fish, grow and weave linen, play pelota and sing passionate songs for tourists and locals alike.So, what did we do?


We went up a steep mountain (La Rhune) by train, and came down it on foot...

We hunted for, and found, fossils on a sloping cliff we'd discovered when staying nearby a few years ago.Ben's parents took the boys to the aquarium in Biarritz and Ben and I took the opportunity to walk around the town and see the sights...I took the dog for a walk to the local village, and found a beautiful church (possible Basque first and Christian second, I felt...)




And past the traditional Basque gravestones of the churchyard, I spotted the Cidrerie du Fronton, where Ben's mum booked us in for a quite stunningly traditional, delicious and enjoyable meal at communal tables (du cidre à volonté !) on our last evening.
And yes, Son 2 did swim in the sea every day - sometimes with his dad and his granny, often with me, and, on our last day, with everyone in the family together in the surf! A wonderful holiday.

j

Tomorrow, the boys go back to school - yes, it's the rentrée! In honour of this yearly event, I will be holding my now-yearly Rentrée giveaway. Do pop back over the next few days for resolutions and the chance to win some goodies. And thanks so much for your comments and kind thoughts while I've been away. It was wonderful to be there, but now it's great to be back.

16 comments:

Sherri B. said...

It looks like you had a lovely time, how nice that son 2 got to swim in the sea everyday! xo

Elizabethd said...

That is one of our favourite regions and we have spent many happy times walking and exploring. It is truly a country on its own, isnt it?
So glad you had such a happy holiday.

Della said...

I'm so glad Son #2 fulfilled his goal- a very worthwhile one in my eyes.

Oddly enough, my family had a Basque exchange student for a month this summer. The first thing my Dad (who works at the Pentagon) said was,"they are terrorists!" But, Arrate was the sweetest and most charming girl.

A Trifle Rushed said...

I'mso glad you had a great time. Your correct about the sea, I've only been back in London for 24 hours and already miss it. We swam most days during the last 6 weeks, although icey it was wonderful!

VintageVicki said...

Looks like a lovely holiday.

Despite living close to the sea - I rarely even have a paddle these days.

Hope the back to school goes well - mine are back tomorrow too.

VintageVicki said...

Hehe - we cross commented!! I now conclude pop music is dangerous!!

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Goodness, I must be terribly ignorant. I didn't know there was a Basque country in France too. I'm off to look it up in my Rough Guide to France. Looks like a fabulous holiday. HOpe tomorrow goes well.

marigold jam said...

Glad your sone got his wish and that you all had a lovely holiday by the look of it. I hadn't realised how much I missed the sea whilst we lived in France till we got back here and it is now just 30 miles away!

Jane and Chris said...

I love the sea,but live as far away from it as I have ever been. So glad you enjoyed your holiday, and hope you are all refreshed and raring to go!
Jane x

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

We live very close to the sea (like 5 mins away) and we hardly ever swim in it! We must change that this summer. I'm so glad your son was able to enjoy his dream. It looks like a very pretty place to visit. Love the stained glass window, I've always loved the colours of the glass.

Serenata said...

Super holiday Floss, so glad you all had a wonderful time. Hope the boys settle back into the new school year well.

Julia said...

Sounds absoultly delightful!!! I miss living by the ocean, and though now only an hour and half away, its seems such a distance. But oh how I do long for it often.

Angela said...

Welcome back! I too miss the sea and loved being near it on holiday
Hope the new term goes well for you all
blessings x

Autumn Mist said...

What an unusual and interesting place! It looks as though you had a great time. I am from the south coast originally and now live in land-locked Derbyshire and miss the sea terribly, so I know what you mean.

Lorrie said...

The sea is a wonderful place for a holiday. And what a gorgeous setting you chose. I hope you're rested and ready to face the challenges of a new school year!

Fat Dormouse said...

We had a lovely week staying in Biarritz quite a few years ago - we also took the train up the mountain, but our view was of a curtain of cloud!!!I'm glad you had a better view. That restaurant, with free flowing cider sounds a must! I will have to hunt it out next time!